Home Office, Workstation, Office

Here’s an interesting post from Nathan Bransford that asks the question are you really doing what you love, or just trying to win?  For someone who is quasi-competitive (when I feel like it, basically, which isn’t all that often), it brings up some good points. The last few years have been a whirlwind of writing & promotion & connecting with readers & traveling and it felt like I hadn’t taken a deep breath in a long time. I write 2 books a year, which is a great pace for me. But I’ve been reading about authors getting caught up in the whole, “you need to publish 6 books a year” (or 3, or 12–take your pick) or readers will forget all about you and you’ll fade into obscurity.

And I thought, “In the great scheme of things, does that really matter?”

Don’t get me wrong. I love having people read my work. LOVE it. But I don’t want this gig to become just another day job. Because boredom. Because unfulfilled. And if I gave myself over to “winning” this game, that’s what would happen. (YMMV) It would become just another thing I did, rather than a vocation.

When I asked myself the questions at the end of Bransford’s post I realized I seriously love to write and will do it as long as I can string words together in a coherent fashion. I have goals that I’ve achieved and some that I haven’t. I’ll keep working toward them as I’ve always done–that’s just how I roll. But it’s good to occasionally remind myself why I do this–yes, most definitely for the wonderful relationships that have come from being a writer (readers, other writers, etc.)–and yes, for the money I earn from creating something out of a seriously twisted imagination–and a big, huge hell yes for the love of the craft.

Not the love of the game.

About dvberkom

Bestselling author of the Kate Jones and Leine Basso thrillers. View all posts by dvberkom

12 responses to “Winning

  • melparish

    I’m with you on this one. It would be nice to make a living from the writing, but the idea of writing multiple books a year makes me shudder. I love writing, love being able to spend time with the characters and their predicaments and I’d hate having to race through the writing just to get yet another book out there.
    Over the last five years I’ve published 4 books and I’m just about to bring out my 5th. The latter was supposed to be published last year but other aspects of life got in the way- and that’s okay. I’m not working to anyone’s schedule but my own, and that’s the way I like it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • dvberkom

      Exactly, Mel. Though it is possible to make a living without killing yourself writing 6-12 books a year. I know writers who love writing that fast–and more power to them. I just can’t/won’t. If I dropped below a certain level of $ per year, I’d figure out some other way to supplement my income.


  • dalefurse

    That’s why I wish I was more competitive, I want to write a book in a month or two. I know I can, I’ve done it during Nano a couple of times, but procrastination gets me every time. I have no excuse, I’m not busy like you are. I don’t have a “real” job, I don’t travel or do live events or anything. I should write way more than I do. I want to write more than I do. I see it as the more I write the better I’ll get. And I want to improve my writing skills to tell a great yarn so my readers are screaming for more. Aah, dreams.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dvberkom

      I think it’s true that the more a person writes, the better that writer will get (practice makes perfect, right?) But I’ve read a couple of books in a couple of series where the writers keep writing the same way every time, book after book after book, and don’t seem to improve their craft. I don’t know how much learning goes on when you do that, and I wonder if they’re just writing quickly to get the next book out. I think the writers who really work to improve their craft with each book are the ones who will be around for the long haul. But, like I said above, YMMV.

      I find that no matter what I do, it takes however long it takes to get that first draft out (which actually tends to be my 3rd or 4th draft since I edit as I go.), then it takes 4-6 weeks for beta reads and edits. Try as I might, going faster just messes with my process. Maybe I need to have less complicated stories? Who knows? And yeah, procrastination is always there in the form of cute cat videos and articles that take me down the rabbit-hole…:-)


  • acflory

    Your process is very similar to mine, DV, and so are your reasons for writing. I hate the false divide that’s been created between writing for ‘art’, where art is pronounced with an audible sneer, and ‘professional’ writing. The minute a writer puts their work out into the public arena, they become professional by default. I want to publish only the best that I’m capable of writing, however long it takes.
    -cough- And apologies for the mini rant. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  • DawnGillDesigns

    2 books a year?…..Is that a promise ?! FOTFL.
    I’m with you. I’m ridiculously happy at the moment, and I’ve only earned enough to pay for the Council Tax this year, but pace is everything, and going comfortably equals holistic in my head.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Sherry Fundin

    We are all individuals and I have never been a keep up with the Jones’ kind of person. Thanks goodness. Have a super weekend, D.
    sherry @ fundinmental

    Liked by 1 person

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